We um and arh about whether to stay another day in Langres but on Sunday 7th June we decide to move off and travel 25 kilometres, work 13 locks and travel through a 4 kilometre tunnel to arrive late afternoon at Dommarien and moor up. A couple of hours later Claud and Henri arrive and due to the draft of their boat we move ours which gets into the bank easily and they moor up against the pontoon – another excuse for drinks – its becoming a bit of a habit but in our defence we are practising our French!!!
Monday we have a short day cruising down to Cusey – moorings are a bit in short supply along this stretch but Cusey has a nice quay which by the end of the day is taken up by our gang of four as Henri and Francoise catch us up as well and they all join us in the evening for drinks – it must be a French tradition all this drinking – but Charles and I are working hard to keep up……. During the afternoon we get the bikes out and cycle to a village 5 k away for a baguette. Claude and Monique have the same idea but their bikes are electric and they get there a lot quicker than us – they ask us why we don’t have electric bikes to which Charles answers ‘Sally wouldn’t let me, she says cycling is good for me!!!’ not sure he really agrees. There’s 43 kilometres to the end of this canal with only a couple of mooring opportunities so its a long day ahead with quite a number of locks – but they are downhill and they are a lot easier and quicker. So we go for our morning 6 mile run/cycle before setting off – we arrive in Oisilly with space for one boat but are beaten to it by a small cruiser travelling towards us which cuts across our path and ties up – the crew don’t even have the decency to look ashamed – perhaps they will sink!!! On we go and find a mooring at Cheuge which is only 6 or 7 k further on but the wind has suddenly appeared which makes mooring interesting as there are rings and not bollards. For the non boaters out there – you can throw the ropes around bollards without leaving the boat but with rings you have to get off and thread the rope through the rings – and you think this boating lark is easy!!!! So I take my life in my hands and jump off the boat and before long we are all snug as a bug in a rug. We enjoy watching the antics of a kite as it swoops down and around our boat to fish until we get bored and hungry. My brother Paul and sister in law Shirley are arriving sometime today (Wednesday) so we decide to travel to Auxonne on the River Saone as we think it will be easier for them to find us plus a safer place to leave their motor bike. The latter turns out to be true but apparently the former doesn’t. I receive a call from Paul in the afternoon to say he is in the car park of the intermarché so as Charles is out shopping we arrange for him to meet them and direct them to the boat. It soon becomes clear that they aren’t at the Auxonne intermarché – turns out they are in St Jean de Losne! So after some huffing and puffing and a number of calls the answer is to leave it to the women to sort things out. Shirley rings me and describes where she is and I ask her if she can see two large greenish coloured water towers. She can although they are on the opposite bank of the river but then I ask her to wave as I think I can see her – yeah!! success so after a couple of minutes they arrive.
Its becoming a bit of tradition to cook boeuf bourgignon for our guests so tonight is no exception and I concoct a veggie version for me. On Thursday we stock up – we are going to need beaucoup de bierre et vin rouge – we also find a secure place for the motor bike with the capaitanne at the port. We get a taste for a particular beer Alscase in one of the bars and I take a fancy to shape of the glass that its served in. I ask if I can buy one but the landlord gives me one (two would have been nice but I didn’t want to push my luck). We meet Debbie and Kevin who own a piperboat named Rangali. They join us in the evening for a drink but its late on and to be honest we have already consumed our fair share – not sure what sort of impression we give them.
It doesn’t take long for Paul to find a few odd jobs to sort out and he certainly pays his way by mending a wobbly tap, a couple of cupboards, our sticking bedroom door and the bikes – next time I think I will make a list …. On Friday we head off for St Jean de Losne. On Saturday Henri and Francoise arrive and as the quay is full moor up against us – this is no problem for us but Henri buys us some gateaux as a thank you – lovely. Just up from the mooring is a little bar which served good beer and a reasonable lunch which soon becomes our local.
One morning Paul got a bit of a coughing fit and said he thought it was because he didn’t drink enough – we all had a laughing fit but you would probably have to be here to appreciate the joke or to see the empties after the night before – given to the amount of alcohol we have drunk and the number of cases of leffe we have cluttering the kitchen ready to be drunk!!! Paul and Shirley want to treat me to a birthday meal which isn’t until Thursday but they will have gone by then so on Sunday we go Auberge de la Marine in Losne and enjoy a super meal with excellent wine and I am spoilt with a vegetarian choice – that’s a first…..thank you Paul and Shirley xx
Before they left the UK Paul asked me if we suffered any problems with mosquitos – not really I said just the occasional bite. Well it would seem these mosquitos are saving themselves for Paul and Shirley who are tormented by them and after a day or two are covered in bites. In fact Shirley’s arm looks like something you expect to see in a Harry Potter movie. Paul regaled how a mosquito had just landed on him and started to draw blood before he killed him – or her he said – politically correctness is now ingrained in all of us……
Monday we head back to Auxonne for our final night before Paul and Shirley leave us and share the last lock with Wanderlust another piper boat owned by Becky and Dave – that was a quick week but on Tuesday they pack up and set off for the rest of their holiday. The boat feels very quiet without them but its been a lot of fun and to be honest our two livers and three kidneys really could do with a rest!!!
On Wednesday 17th June we move out of Auxonne and travel to Pontailler sur Saone. We cannot travel far as we are waiting for Blanquarts marina to tell us they can carry out the work on the bow thruster. Its all becoming a bit of a saga but now we know the parts have been ordered and are being sent to the marina. Orignally Blanquarts told us just to arrive and they would complete the work but now they are full and don’t know when the crane or engineers will be free so we are in limbo. So we will just cruise up and down the Saone until we get the nod.
Kevin and Debbie are already settled in Pontailler so they kindly invite us for a drink and its good to get to know each other. Its quite amazing how different all these piper boats are whilst its obvious they are piper boats they all have their individual modifications and are all fantastic – well apart from the bow thrusters that is.
Thursday 18th June – wheyhey its my birthday so Charles spoils me all day. I open my pressies and cards brought over from the UK and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. We travel to Gray where it is our intention to go out for a meal but looking through the guide books Charles spots Chateau de Rigny so books us in for Friday night. Pure heaven I’m going to have a long bath and treated to a superb meal – what more could I ask for……????